PRESS RELEASE: ANERA Builds Playground in Southern Lebanon

November 28, 2008 | Burghliyeh, Lebanon - Yesterday, ANERA inaugurated a children’s park in the municipality of Burghliyeh, a Lebanese and Palestinian community near Tyre.

Motivation for the park came from a series of fun, interactive meetings conducted by ANERA over two months with small groups of children from Burghliyeh. The meetings brought out, early on, the need for a safe, clean and open place for children to play. They had been playing in irrigation ditches and cow pastures.

Thursday’s event illustrated just how popular the play area will be – smiling Lebanese and Palestinian children immediately streamed out across the open field and heaped onto the playground.

The play area was the result of a partnership between ANERA and the Association for Rural Development, with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Playgrounds for Palestine, an American non-profit, helped in identifying the right playground and negotiating a reduced price from a supplier in the United States. The playground that was installed is one of the few in Lebanon that reaches the highest standards of quality and safety.

In addition to the play area, ANERA has also built bonds between the communities by creating walking paths that link the northern (Lebanese) and southern (Palestinian) sides of the village. The paved routes replaced dirt paths that would turn to mud in the winter. Children now can get to school safely by avoiding the dangerous main highway.

“This truly is a gift of the American people to Lebanese and Palestinians,” said ANERA’s President William Corcoran in a speech in at the park’s opening. “It is a gift that shows that people are more important than politics, particularly the children. And when we see the smiling faces of these children playing in this park today, we hope that the next generation will worry less about politics and more about people.”